Foreclosure Law in Washington
Foreclosure is when a lender in Poulsbo, Washington, re-possesses the real property that was purchased with the loan. This is meant to cover the bank's losses, in case the borrower continuously fails to make his or her mortgage payments.
A foreclosure typically involves a forced sale of the house at auction, so the bank can recover at least some of the loss it has incurred as a result of the default. Banks typically want to rid themselves of the property as soon as possible, collect as much money as they can from the sale, and then move on.
Like every other state in the U.S., Washington permits homeowners facing foreclosure to opt for a foreclosure by judicial sale. This is a process through which a court oversees the sale of the house by the lender. The purpose is to see that the lender takes reasonable steps to notify the public of the auction, and other steps to ensure that the house sells for the highest price possible. This is meant to protect the borrower, making it less likely that they'll have to pay a large deficiency judgment (the remaining amount due on the mortgage if the house sells for less than the remaining balance).
In a large number of states, but not all of them, mortgages are a type of loan identified as a "non-recourse loan." While the regulations governing these loans are complex, it most basically means that, once the house is sold, and the sale price doesn't cover what the borrower owes, the lender can't go after the borrower for the remainder. They simply have to take the loss.
How to Possibly Avoid Foreclosure in Poulsbo, Washington
To avoid foreclosure, communicating with your lender is key. Let's face it - if you're in a situation where foreclosure looks like a possibility, your life is not going to be easy for some time. While it's difficult to step up and acknowledge unpleasant facts, doing so will make your life much easier in the long run. If your lender is aware of your situation, it's far more likely that you'll be able to work something out with them.
You should be mindful of the fact that your bank wants you to make your monthly mortgage payments - they probably aren't scheming to trick you into giving up your home. This isn't out of altruism, it's due to the fact that foreclosure is almost never as lucrative for the bank in the long run than a mortgage that is paid in full over a period of years or decades, with interest accruing the whole time. For a bank, a foreclosure is simply a last resort to cut their losses.
If you face sudden expenses, such as medical bills or a lawsuit, which put a serious but relatively short-term strain on your finances, you should notify your lender immediately. You might find that they are willing to accept lower payments, if this will prevent you from defaulting.
As a last resort, you might consider a "short sale," which results in loss of the home, but it typically leads to a great deal of the debt on the mortgage being forgiven. Typically, a short sale in Washington involves selling the house for whatever price it can fetch. The proceeds from the sale go to the lender, and if it sells for less than what's left on the mortgage, the balance of the debt is forgiven.
Can a Poulsbo, Washington real estate attorney help?
If you feel that your home is close to being foreclosed in Poulsbo, Washington, and want to try to prevent this, the advice and assistance of an efficient real estate lawyer can mean the difference between keeping or losing your home.